So, I recently read an article from a non-aligned, citizen journalist detailing the mistreatment of a USAF veteran in Vancouver, WA. The veteran was exercising his 2nd Amendment rights as a US citizen and acting within the confines of Washington state law. What was he doing? He was open carrying an AR-15 on a public street.
Lets lay out some facts in this case:
1) The 2nd Amendment states in no uncertain terms that the right to bear arms is universal to US citizens and cannot be infringed upon. This means that ANY state or federal law that limits gun ownership is ILLEGAL. We all know that these illegal laws have been upheld by the SCOTUS.
2) Washington state law allows for the open carry of firearms. So, no matter what, the former airman was well within his rights.
3) The VPD purposely antagonized this airman for exercising his rights. When they knew they couldn't arrest him for exercising his rights, they then entrapped him by not allowing him to return to his vehicle. Additionally, police were openly hostile. Every one of the officers were willfully complicit.
Now... for the more controversial facts...
4) Gun violence is very real and there are two sides of this debate:
There ones who look at guns as the problem and would have every single one of them banned.
The ones who look at people as the problem. Violence is in human nature, it is one of the most grotesque and disgusting attributes of humans. Because of this, limiting or eliminating ownership of those with a high risk of re-perpetration of violence (criminals with violent records) or tendency towards violent mental instability is considered the best possible solution to the problem.
Then, there's the most controversial part of this... An idea that has many responsible gun owners divided.
5) There is a belief held by many that there is no need to open carry a rifle, of any sort. Even more controversial is the belief that anyone who does, is purposely trying to instigate a confrontation with LEOs for the purpose of making a political statement. This belief becomes more founded when videos like this one of the former airman's encounter with VPD come out on YouTube.
It is important to note here that I am not arguing the legality of the airman's choice to open carry his AR-15. His rights under the US Constitution and Washington state law are irrefutable.
What I AM arguing against is the way he carried out his rights.
Now, I'll be first to admit, I am judging him based upon what I see as irrefutable facts in this case. He open carried this weapon in a city where, arguably, the sentiment against gun ownership overshadows the belief in favor of gun ownership. The way he was carrying his camera indicated that he was expecting the confrontation. To me, these are both irrefutable evidence that he was attempting to make a political statement. If I'm right, he got what he deserved. You don't poke a bear and expect to get away unscathed.
These "shock" tactics are on the rise and what it is doing is forcing business to take an anti-2nd Amendment stance in order to maintain their businesses and livelihoods. I'm staunchly against these kinds of tactics.
These tactics HURT the pro-2nd Amendment movement. It hardens the belief that 2nd Amendment supporters are crazy, inbred rednecks hell bent on bloody gun rampages. We all know that couldn't be further from the truth.
Gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters should all stand against these kinds of tactics. There will always be those on the fringes of both sides of the debate, but if we can bring the majority of both sides back to the center of this debate by being sensible, we can turn public sentiment against the scare tactics of the anti-gun lobby. Lets foster an open, hostility free, dialogue on the issue and win the debate through facts, not intimidation.
EVERYONE has a right to feel safe in their persons and property.
Period. If you bring a weapon into a private establishment, you are
VIOLATING their rights to feel safe. Lets face it people, not everyone
is comfortable around a gun or any weapon of any kind. That IS their
right. If you want them to respect OUR right to own firearms, we MUST respect their rights, within reason, to be gun free. How do we do this? Concealed carry is the only way.
Remember, the facts ARE on our side!